tv Steve Lombardo on the Koch Brothers CSPAN November 27, 2015 2:15am-3:06am EST
nuanced story. the backdrop was the attack of earl harbor. and fdr at the time saw fit under the circumstances to, with an executive order, incarcerate and inter people of japanese descent. he also simultaneously gave a second executive order, closer to his believes. hat no one should be judged on their citizenship or their american identity by race or color.
so against this backdrop of racial injustice, where there are family and friends incarcerated in internment camps, these men served in the mountains and save the lost battalion at great cost, at reat cost. and incidentally, they served with more military distinction and recognition than any unit in american military history. this is the honoring the 442nd regimental combat team. the 100th infantry battalion and he military intelligence service. that is why there are only three
stars appearing, indicating and the medically, the three branches. those are subtleties that go nto the thought process. incidentally, in terms of the thought process, before i ever left a pencil up, if i'm doing my job correctly, especially since my narratives, the task orders that come to us come with an attachment, and the attachment determines what is needed in terms of the design, it is the congressional law that has been passed. and so that is the essence. i want to do my first research, i read congressional findings. why these people? they enumerate sometimes 28 different items why the soldiers are deserving of congressional gold medals?
literally, our highest civilian award. they've been given to many individuals, by the way. this is the closest i've ever gotten to doing a congressional gold medal design for an individual. most of them are group ecipients. and in a sense, these men were group recipients. but it was a combined effort here, honoring john glenn, the first american to orbit the earth. and neil armstrong, michael collins, buzz aldrin, they represented the apollo 11 mission which landed the first earthling on another planetary body on our lunar surface. i was around. i saw this on black and white tv. i was in san francisco somewhere. and it was an indelible moment for human history. s a matter of fact, as i was
sitting in dave's office, he was showing me the certificates of george washington and howard hughes, being congressional gold medal recipients, what a strange, interesting juxtaposition. he said, you know, this is really cool. i told david in his office, you know, the speaker of the house, john boehner, whose last congressional gold medal ceremony was yesterday, in the rotunda of the capital, in the rotunda of the capital, it is the only congressional gold ceremony i attended in the inner sanctum of our office. and george washington was going to be interred there, like napoleon. other circumstances prevailed.
in the rotunda of the capital, the speaker of the house came to the podium and said, ok, i will say what everybody in the room -- and there were quite a number of people in the room, including scott kelly who is now in orbit and the space station -- this is pretty cool. it was really true. it was really true because there is almost no other way to describe, you know, these kinds f exploits, these kinds of feats. they defied imagination. so basically, this is the congressional gold medal. y drawing. again, this is phoebe temple's incredible sculpting. and this is the reverse. incidentally, artistically, it is supposed to be an artist. between you and me and anyone else who might be listening in, love art. i have loved art all my ife.
when the monuments men were honored yesterday, it was ncredible to witness that. art is our crowning, our crowning legacy. t is communication of who we are as human beings. nd our creativity, it is a epository of all we are. but i believe what duke llington said, there is no labeling. there is no, no formula -- one size does not fit all. and when i was tearing my hair out, trying to figure out what to do for the reverse, i was playing around with a lot of different elements. but i was really very excited about the fact that since i was working in the round, as you do with coinage, the rectilinear rules of composition are thrown out the window. just as the experience of
orbiting the earth, orbiting the moon, throws one out of our usual ways of reckoning our own identity and our place in t. it is all thrown into complete flux. so i wanted to achieve a sense of vertigo, almost read with this design, i wanted to achieve a sense that there is no orienting point. there is no north and south. it is not a rectilinear, two-dimensional, it is three-dimensional -- it is all in motion. the reverse of the sculpt was done by the lead of the mint, don everhart. here is a little inside baseball. he called me up on the phone. he said i'm working on the clay for the reverse of the new rontier. joel, is the sea of tranquility what you indicated with the lunar surface? i said no, don. because i had to portray the
lunar module in such a way, it would have been inaccurate to show the actual landing site of the eagle -- the sea of tranquility. it is just a lot of lunar craters that i think look really lunar in texture. i said, have fun with that. just make it look like the moon, and contrast to the earth. not many people, i will never repeat that. ok, so i have to go back to this. this is a photograph, let us use hat one. again, in the rotunda of the capital, where john trumbull's murals, one of which was the esignation of george
washington, general washington, which trumbull called when the greatest moral lessons of history, which it was, there before we all left, someone took a snap of me between the obverse and reverse. and behind me are john trumbull's murals. incidentally, he laid down his brush to be george washington's aide to camp. everything is connected. and a great story i have to uickly tell you. about this medal, as i was getting ready to leave the rotunda, i was over the moon. pun intended. don everhart, he said, joel, are you going to the after event? where nasa and families of the astronauts and the caucus room? i said i don't know anything about that. but a congressional aide to said
that when i followed don and to that caucus room, i got to shake everyone's hand. i got to shake the hand of neil armstrong. i had a conversation about his remarks in the rotunda, which were soaring. again, pun intended. i went over to john glenn. and at one point, i told him something that is a wonderful story i have to tell you. talk about cool. when i first got the assignment, as a layman, my first question was, how will i portray riendship 7?
how to get inserted into orbit? what was his position, east to west around the globe? est to east? against the, you know, rotation of the earth on its axis? i did not know anything about t. even though i have spent time at nasa, this was long before i isited them. i got to go over to john glenn nd i shook his hand.
i said, senator glenn, i must tell you that when i was trying to get the representation of friendship 7 correctly on the medal, i came across the archives a kind of crummy pdf document from the manned space center. on page 132 or something there as some they call a pilots flight report. i felt like i found, you know, the holy grail. and john glenn, perfectly and matter of fact ease, he recounts the most hair-raising various you could possibly imagine. i did not -- i want to move this along. i was going to read to you. but i want to get to the uestion-and-answer period. while i was standing there
telling him, a woman who was kind of in charge of things wanted to move the senator over to a photo op. nd john glenn said, hold on. i am speaking to the man who designed the medal. and it was for me, and out of body experience. because it was a page out of tom wolfe. where the astronauts went up against the nasa brass and scientists, look, we are not going to be put in a capsule. that is a spacecraft. and we want a window for
orientation. it is specific to the european theaters where they saved many soldiers. they created many u.s. victories. because their code was unbroken, the professional decoders of the japanese and germans could not penetrate this language. and so, in 2008, congress said there were many other tribes that also been treated to the ar effort. this one was my first congressional gold medal for the eminal code talkers. a little artistic, parenthetical consideration, if you look at the border, that is a seminole border. it means fluidity, communication.
these kind of subtleties might be lost on some. but while you're putting this together, it is very important. it is very important, by the way, when these medals reach the recipient, when they recognize you have done your homework and you are trying to honor them accurately, they are very ppreciative. and that is the pot of gold and the end of the rainbow for me, when i see the recipients say that the work rings true. the second one was the apache tribe. this is a much more active scenario, running into fire -- which is what these men did. they provided cover with their ndecipherable codes. the hopi code talkers. ncidentally, i have to go back
for a second. this was sculpted by joseph menna. by the way, all of the engravers in philadelphia are all classically trained. they are very much under song sometimes. but they are world-class sculptors. every time, i get a wonderful feeling when i see them bringing my two-dimensional linear concepts to new heights. pun intended, again. the hopi code talkers, b-54 lying above. culpted by don everhart. and the tribe, in the background kind of faded, is the highly regarded chief white eagle. sculpted by phoebe hemphill. here is where some of my
experiences traveling with the air force kind of paid off in terms of, you know, believability. the 50th anniversary of war war two, we went literally around the world to visit china, india, burma theater. we were in hawaii. i saw the marks at hickam air force base. i visited the arizona. these things become powerful. when you have direct contact, as opposed to indirect contact, it is want to play a role in how ou interpret this. it will mean so much more. being in guam, being in india, being across the himalayas, we went to china.
and i also went to normandy with the air force, i also went down to fort bragg and saw the green berets, our special ops graduating from their training, from the rigorous training. and i also did a private sector painting, who parachuted into what was really a suicide mission -- to obscure bridges and normandy. actually, it was an incredibly important factor in the success of freeing the peninsula from itler's minions. the first special service forces were the only combined u.s. and canadian military unit. and they made silent landings, which is indicated by my ignette. and they climbed mountains at incredible altitudes in the most
rigorous conditions. they lost many. but they were quite a group of men to encounter, when i got to see them get their congressional gold medal back in february of last year. the sculpt was by joe menna. the reverse was done by a fellow, a.i. peer. an artist, she is a program artist. hat was the first, this is the ead of the infantry. so the arrow had to be a part of the infantry. another piece of inside baseball.
there was a commander for the men revered like napoleon. he was first in, always. and when he was relieved of his duty, these tough guys -- they made john wayne look like a wimp -- they broke down in tears. they broke down in tears. nd i actually, i put frederick's portrait in the medal. e like my friend gary stern, who is here today. t is a medal given ollectively. it was not going to fly. ok, i will talk very little about this treated it is so eaningful.
here we are, not far from the trinity church where hamilton is interred. where the events of that black day, that horrible, terrible, nimaginable day. what do you do if you're a narrative artist? if you're a narrative artist with a figurative background who likes to tell stories? with the background as an illustrator? hat do you do? one size for congressional gold medals, they're not like the
medal of freedom or the national arts metal, they are beautiful thing. ach one was individually crafted and struck specifically for the recipient. each story is different. what would one do, what would you do for this story? when i came up, as best as i can escribe to you, abstract lines -- it is a conceptual piece. i wasn't about to make this literal. literally, it was too horrifying to contemplate doing anything literally or figuratively. i will go into my art, theories, i would just tell you what my thinking was. really, my design is thinking with a pencil in your hand. so my thinking was, if i make lines going up, that could
counteract the horrible and unimaginable loss of the lines going down. they can also figure the towers we lost, indicative or diplomatic of the towers themselves. our world was turned upside down a day, inverted. but i learned by that direct encounter that the names on the parapet around the reflecting pools, the names -- more than 2000, i forget the exact number, forgive me -- the complexity of trying to arrange names in a respectful way, besides being a museum it is a memorial site, and to be respectful, they had to hire elite algorithm pecialists to put together the names of everyone from all the flights involved, from 1983 to 9/11.
there were married couples indifferent towers. there were gay couples with different surnames. the complexity and care that was taken was very impressive to me. and another thing, the reason why -- i hope that little shows the spray from the falling water that is indicating the great loss -- the people at the 9/11 memorial at logistics problem. because with so many gone in the calendar year, there is an average of 16 birthdays and other anniversaries. and people would come with flowers, it would be a logistics problem with mementos and flowers, tacked up on the fence at a church during the event. they took it upon themselves for
very birthday, for every ccasion to put a flower in the name -- these names are engraved into the wall like a gravestone. and in design-speak, the legend or the inscription, which is always in the sky, it is the same -- indicated in my drawing as remember. meaning it is raised. and when i found out that i was selected, i called up don everhart. don, do me a favor. if we are going to do this right, let us engrave remember nto the stone. and the other part of that is of course, the numbers you can well imagine. when you design in the round, it is very different than designing ectorlinearly.
there are different rules you break as an artist. again, this is a conceptual and somatic piece. i placed them very carefully as if the round face of this medal were an analog clock. the first flight that hit at :21, all the flights are positioned -- 77, 93 -- exactly at the times the souls met their fate. it was a very emotional medal. i am very proud of it, as well. he sculpt was done by jim, inside baseball again, the lines were very difficult he told me, to get them raised and to get them to have integrity. it went through a lot of technical ups and downs to achieve this sculpt. and that medal, most medals, congressional gold medals, our house at the smithsonian institution.
but sometimes, at the end of the aw, it does say that the sense of congress, the metal can travel on exhibition to be later eturn. in the case of the soldiers of world war ii, it troubled to six asian museums -- including the world war ii museum. it is now part of the permanent collection at the smithsonian, part of the price of freedom. the american fighters, served in every theater of war, they served in world war i, they served in world war ii, they
served in korea. and they served in vietnam. and each branch of service is represented. and to meet those gentlemen when they receive their congressional gold medal, phoebe hemphill again. i put in a couple of different versions to show the lighting, some show the portraiture better than others. don everhart did a spectacular reverse with the four crafts that are associated with these gentlemen. ot only the wings, aviator wings, in the center of those ings, showing the global reach of their efforts. and above them is an ace of pades. which goes way back before world war i, associated with aviators all the way back to larry owens.
this is my own shot with my iphone. i just like that the lighting showed phoebe's nterpretation. his is the last slide. this is what i was talking about at the outset. where we got to witness the monuments men receiving their congressional gold medal. there were four, six surviving today. four were present yesterday, including harry from new ersey. ho as a boy in germany, fled with his family to america, weeks before kristallnacht. in a 19-year-old new jersey lad
joined the monuments men. and his job, his mission was to go to the salt mines and save he altarpiece. the astronomer, which have put that in because it was not just artworks and sculpture, it was all of civilizations precious eritage. manuscripts, voltaire, they were taking everything. i got his big hairy, after he alked to the german press. the salt mines, they were pristine. this was chilling to me. they were clean and perfect. e said they were
atmospherically controlled to protect the work. to protect from what? to protect from the face of pure evil. and in the face appear evil, what makes you feel so honored and privileged to be an american, and as american to get to tell some of these stirring stories, is that in our darkest and worst days like 9/11, which eminds us of what it must have been like at pearl harbor, what unimaginable horror and blackness of the holocaust, it also brings out the very finest of what human beings are capable of. that is what the congressional gold medal is really all about. t is been my privilege to be tasked with telling some of these stories. and it is my privilege to spend this time with you this afternoon, to tell you a little bit about my perspective. thank you so much. [applause]
she will kill me, she is such a private person, my beautiful wife is smiling. things are good. know i came very close, there is no time for a q and a, but we can sneak one in. yes? >> i noticed in the first of three medals, you have the figures coming out of the boundary, even stepping over the inner boundary. was wondering, was that deliberate on your part? to say that people are breaking arriers? joel: absolutely. i'm glad you mentioned that.
not only are they walking out to us. let me see if i can get back to there. that is very perceptive of you. the design aspect has to be tied the content. t has to contain a representation of something that ou're trying to say. is that what -- like that one. that ceremony in the bitter cold of 1944 meant great deals to
these men. they were being complemented, they stayed in the mountains during the winter, that is conic. but i thought you were referring, absolutely, i wanted them to break out -- break the third wall, come out to us, reach out to us. absolutely. the same is true of the m1s. t is a convention. art is really, the cost said it very well. as i said earlier, i love art. everything about art. i'm very fortunate because i get to represent something so meaningful. but yes, absolutely, it is meant to emphasize that i thought you were actually talking about, yes? they are breaking the surface. they really broke barriers for women of military pilots.
it was breaking barriers. i also have the breaking through, and they love flying. by the way, a little inside. i worked very long and hard hours trying to find the right generic, going a long way, the right generic indication of what a woman would be like. nd these women were not only eroic enrages, they did lose anything about being feminine. the women in the uniforms, they still looked beautiful at the ceremony. their hair was done. wonderful woman. they broke barriers, yes. did you have a question? someone? >> can you give us an idea if it surprised you with the graphic ideas? did you get your owner search? how are you coming up with those
images? >> let's see do we have to know a couple? i'll try to be very brief. it's obviously a very complex scenario. head is ae, i usually sight. if it's anywhere within my physical able to reach even if ago. pened long there are be vest tajs. it that's so going down and seeing the launch is like seeing home runs but spin. it's a different experience. so that would be my first. know, nd is library, you things that are in the publicer omain.
max and match. i love what george sid. the interview said what sit like work. reate or of this and he said creator? i'm not a creator. i take a tear there and there. nd i'm a sem glance artists. . e recreates a brand-new image. mostly library of irkinds. and mo intel. to simulate the, you know, poses that wind up being the final pose. >> i'm sorry. >> would you describe the back of the 911 medal? you di show us the back?
>> i'm sorry so. . -- the imagery is a common reverse. it's an american bald eagle. i don't have a picture of it now. i apologize. testify and it's positioned away from the viewer 3/4 and yet it's turning back as if to look in retro speak or interspex. >> theand each sige in new york be tall rg reverse. the and the shank hill. propes. i could tell you what they are right now. but i've -- that's what the reverse of all three medals is. >> if you go to the united
mint.gove. and he gos to. you don't have all the congressional gold medalist. and you'll be able to enlarge them. and they'll have descriptions that are pro probably more more. es, david. >> is there actual gold in the gold medals and how many are stuck? >> that's a great question. that's a great softball question. thank you. david. >> yes, it's all soo liquid gold. >> from what i know and i stand to be corrected, i do know it's solid gold. >> that one.
nless in her later that it can ravel to through appropriate venue such as i believe that medal in the first special service sportses sent some time in canada. they, most all to my knowledge wind back up at the sys moanian. ot at the 911 me memorial. collection. i hope it's on display somewhere. but there is one. and from what i know it's about 30,000. so we could talk money. >> it's about $30,000.
>> but the beautiful thing about the mint is that it's the only agency i have. . never costs them congressional nalgo god medals. >> and their also available to sale to the general public like you and it. ve i have to buy my -- i samples. yes? details werell the minute. >> i was just letting them now.
how much he's supposed to come out. eople home time. thank you for their. one size does not fit at all. actually our lead cule chure did. . -- the ar director was in new york or something. and he was saying why should i pay, you no, $2,500 for this. ou did that in twinet minutes. but i it took me a life to. er with that in mind, sb there's no rule of thumb. each and every one very different. but in general it's -- it's usually a few months from the time i get this. unless i get a call and they say
oel we really need this way. anything. ly put ny so privileged such a fine teefpblet >> when grow on the. you'll see that there are 18 of us. so these things are not commission. no eebs sitting at the treasury delcht. t doesn't work that way. it's an elaborate procedure. where. it's a contrast between the 18 very, very fine artist that mentioned some as i said, word -- world craft
are also designing. the portfolios of the review board has graced us with the present. sometimes there is a portfolio of 30 or 40 different designs to wade through. he speaks in a wonderful accent that is a combination of robert de niro and elliott mass. he said he noted feels like? he said it is like a rocket ship going off. i go into my nasa imagery. he was absolutely right. it doesn't ever get old. because of that elaborate process and the nature of what you're doing. selection, my wife keep saying that i say this is the
most important whenever. they are all important. i'm not sure who designed it. my guess would be a frenchman. think of lafayette. george washington called him my son. georgete named his sons washington lafayette. the two men really hit it off. the gold medal george washington was given was given to him by thomas jefferson 14 years after it was approved. it was struck in paris. i don't know who the designer and scope there was. i do know that it was struck in paris. i would bet in the smithsonian. maybe the museum, i don't know.
thank goodness, i was afraid to be in front of all of this. thank you so much again. i want to thank you for that gold talk. becky so much. [applause] -- thank you so much. announcer: in october, congress awarded the congressional gold medal to the monuments men. the award ceremony at the capitol visitor center is a half-hour. it begins with the president of the foundation, robert ettsall.
[applause] robert: mr. speaker, members of congress. we are gathered to celebrate 350 men and women who served in the archives section. we know these men and women, scholars, and soldiers. only six are living. two of them were unable to travel. four of them are with us today. so to are 175 family members of monuments men -- our founding
fathers committed to us the cause of freedom. the monuments men respect to the preservation of our culture to -- treasury. as early as 1942, the leader of the monuments men in europe established their operations in postwar japan and argued that the creation of officers during war to safeguard these things will not affect the course of battle. but it will affect the relations of invading armies with those people and their governments to safeguard these things and show respect for the beliefs and customs of all men and will bear witness that these things the law not only to her particular people but also to the heritage of mankind. the death of two monuments men
would seem to argue that art is worth the loss of life. but one artist himself who missed his son's birthdays while serving in italy stated otherwise. the life of one american boy is worth infinitely more than any monument i know. he risked his life not to save beautiful objects but to defend the cause george stout wrote about. preservation of our shared heritage.